Williamsburg Co. School District tapping into program to hire teachers from abroad

Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:56 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As schools statewide work to fill urgently-needed teacher positions, some districts are tapping into international programs to bring teachers to the Lowcountry.

In a Williamsburg County School District spending report, we noticed a $161,000 payment to “Teachers Placement Group, Inc.”

We asked what that money was for, and the district’s HR Director Claire Murdoch tells us they first heard about TPG Cultural Exchange from the state Department of Education in 2005.

“The teacher shortage is real!” Murdoch told us. “TPG has helped us recruit teachers from India who work under a temporary J-1 visa for up to five years. Until very recently, all TPG teachers were recruited from India. Just last year we hired one teacher from Jamaica through TPG. "

She said over fifteen years, they’ve hired about 100 teachers this way who “brought our students a personal view of their country and culture.”

The total cost since 2005 was $2,197.646.41. That about $22,000 per teacher recruited.

Murdoch said for Williamsburg County Schools, they believe the teachers have been effective.

The S.C. Department of Education could not tell us how many counties use TPG. Spokesperson Ryan Brown said districts can pay for whatever recruitment they want as long it’s a state-approved program.

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